Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Power of Music: My Chronic-Illness Playlist

I'm sure you've all experienced the power of music firsthand. In an instant, a song can transport you to a time, place, memory or feeling. Music can lift your spirits or even help you wallow. Music can make you feel understood or be a source of strength.

There have been various studies with regard to music and healing. Music therapy is a growing field, and there are about 5,000 board-certified music therapists in the U.S., according to this CNN article from August of last year. One of the things I really love about music is that a single song can speak to people in so many different ways.

Photo credit: Stefan Gustafsson
After watching Carole King and Sara Bareilles perform two of their great hits together during the Grammys Sunday night, I was inspired to create what I would consider my POTS playlist. I have listed the tracks below, along with why it is on my playlist or the line that speaks to me the most. I will start, of course, with the two songs that inspired this post.

What would be on your chronic-illness playlist and why?

1. Beautiful by Carole King:"You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart."

2. Brave by Sara Bareilles: "Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live, Maybe one of these days you can let the light in, Show me how big your brave is."

3. A Hard One to Know by Benjamin Gibbard: Mainly I just love this song, but this line seems especially appropriate, "I toss and turn but I just can't sleep."

4. Shake It Out by Florence & The Machines: "It's always darkest before the dawn."

5. Act Nice and Gentle by The Black Keys: "I don't need no luxuries, 'Long as you are understandin', I'm not difficult to please, Act nice and gentle to me."

6. For You Now by Bruno Merz: Just listen to this entire song. The whole thing is great.

7. Flying by Green River Ordinance: This song just puts me in a good mood. I think it is the fiddle... I'm a sucker for a fiddle.

8. We Are the Tide by Blind Pilot: "Don't you know you're alive?"

9. Waited by Kylie Rae Harris: "Well its got me all sideways, jumping the track, but this is my life, taking it back."

10. Calmer of the Storm by Downhere: While most of the songs on this list are more mainstream, this one is my favorite from the Christian music genre. Calmer of the Storm is one of those songs that has helped me through some really hard days.

11. The Sound of Settling by Death Cab for Cutie: "Our youth is fleeting, Old age is just around the bend."

12. You Can Come to Me by Helio Sequence: This is another song that has multiple lines I love, but I especially love, "Finding out that you what you want is not what you need."

13. That Old Black Hole by Dr. Dog: "I don't want to fight, but I'm constantly ready, And I don't rock the boat, but it's always unsteady." (Sounds like fight-or-flight and vertigo to me!)

14. One Little Light by Gary Jules: I really like this song in general, but of course I have to include a song on the list that mentions having no spoons. "No meteor, no moon, no cotton, no spoon, Just a little light in the sky."

15. Let That Be Enough by Switchfoot: "And all my sand castles spend their time collapsing."

16. Ooh Child by The Five Stairsteps: "Ooh-oo child, Things are gonna get easier, Ooh-oo child, Things'll get brighter."

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